I thought I would write about something that has been pressing me since we had Noah…or even before and that is the cost of motherhood. In my mind this term refers to all the “stuff” society tells you that you “need” in order to be a good mother or a good parent, when actually in reality you don’t need it. It also refers to the fact that being a mother or a parent is in fact very costly; think about childcare for example… (which I personally think is so unfair)…it costs on average £50per day to put your baby -no matter how old – in nursery. It puts an unneeded strain on parents who actually would like to go back to work and for those that don’t…well forget about that maternity pay you were just given because you have to pay that back (well in part but that’s not the point). It all tallies up and can often put a huge strain on a mother or a father which is neither helpful nor fair, especially when some costs can be cut or just shouldn’t be there in the first place.
Not only does motherhood cost financially but it also costs in time, patience, love, tears, SLEEP, sanity and even sadly in friendships. I mean most of the things I’ve just listed are part and parcel of being a mum and mum’s are very good at just getting on with it but it doesn’t mean it’s not tough sometimes. Having said all this the GOOD certainly outweighs ALLthe bad! For example…what costs in time is gained when you watch your baby grow and achieve milestones because of the time you have spent with them; what’s costs in sleep is gained when you go to pick them up and are greeted by the world’s biggest smile; what costs in friendship is gained when you realise that you have a new little buddy to experience life with; what costs in love is gained when your baby/child snuggles into you and gives love back – knowing you’re their whole world. If that’s the cost of motherhood then believe me it’s SO worth it!!
On the flip side, society does like to “sell” motherhood to new parents – the shiny new pram, the branded clothes even the toys. So, I thought I would make a list of all the things I bought in preparation for motherhood…what I have used them for and whether I think it’s an essential to Noah’s growth, development and wellbeing. I’ll start with the biggies and try and remember them all.
- A nursery – included in here are his cot, chest of drawers/changing table, a rocking chair and a wardrobe. (Prior to going in his cot, Noah was in a moses basket – the same one I slept in as a baby)
However, if you do not have a house big enough to give a baby a nursery then do not worry – a baby sleeps with you in your bedroom for the first 6 months of their life anyway and there’s no problem in making that a little bit longer. If funds don’t allow you to, then don’t put extra strain on yourself for the sake of a cute “pinterest worthy” nursery. Your baby won’t know any different, as long as they have somewhere safe and comfortable to sleep it does not matter where that may be. It is important however, for your own sanity as a parent to have YOUR own space…even if it’s just to take a breather – so if you are in the position where you’re sharing a room with your baby…try to put the baby up to bed earlier than you and put the monitor on, just so that you can have an hour or so of “down time” in the evenings. It will really help you to recharge your batteries. It will also allow you the quality time with your spouse – believe me when there’s a baby in the picture you need that time.
- A pram/travel system
Now this is a difficult one as I find that prams/pushchairs are beginning to be more of a fashion item than a practical way of travel for mum and baby. Do not get me wrong, I am guilty of this completely but when buying a pram you have to be careful not to go for the Bugaboo (the ‘Chanel’ of buggies) just because everyone has it but because it meets your needs. I didn’t choose the Bugaboo but it wasn’t for practical reasons…I just didn’t want to spend over £1000 on a pram BUT also because I really loved the ‘Joolz Day’. Now, I often ask myself WHY??? Other than the obvious – it was a lovely colour, had leather handles and just had ‘the look’ that I wanted. I totally put my hands up and say that I didn’t really think about the practicalities of the pram itself. In reality, although it looks good, it doesn’t have a big enough storage underneath, it’s had 2 tyre punctures, it’s wheels are super wide and the big one…Noah has already grown out of it. I showed my sister in law a picture of him in it the other day and she laughed and I don’t blame her, he looked ridiculous and really uncomfortable. So yes….when buying a pram, go for one that is PRACTICAL not PRETTY!! You won’t regret it. Also, you can get really great travel systems without breaking the bank these days either.
SIDE NOTE – If you have a car and plan to travel in a car with baby then you MUST have a carseat, you will probably know this but it’s a non negotiable item that should be on the list. I would advise not to buy second hand on carseats either…unless handed down from a family or friend you trust…only because you need to be sure that it’s not been in a car crash….same with the isofix, I wouldn’t buy them second hand either (this isn’t essential though, just the carseat is – they are pretty handy however and saves the faffing of dealing with seatbelts).
- Sling/Baby Carrier
I bought both, yes, both. I didn’t really use the sling much as Noah was quite the hefty baby and didn’t feel as much support as I did with the ergo baby carrier. I do find these to be an essential though if you are a keen walker, or just if you want to have free hands but your baby needs you to soothe…they’re a life saver. I still use our ergo every single day and have done practically all of Noah’s life. I LOVE IT!! I certainly don’t regret buying it. The sling is a cheaper alternative and if you have a lovely little snuggly baby then they work just the same (I only struggled because of the amount of walking I do and Noah’s weight). For me, this is a must.
- Baby bath/Bath support
We bought an Angelcare bath support and loved it…you don’t need this but for piece of mind it’s nice. Noah does just sit in the bath without any support now, I think once a baby is steady sitting up then he/she will be ok in the bath with a non-slip mat to just sit…you’re not going to take your eyes away so baby is perfectly safe with you in the room. That’s just my opinion though.
We live in an instagram crazy world where branded baby clothes are spread in front of our screens every day but you don’t need the labels to clothe your baby. Personally, I love Next clothes and yes they are branded but we only buy them from Next because we like them not because we MUST. There are so many cheap baby clothing lines that are really lovely but also practical too. Clothes for your baby are necessary but you don’t have to break the bank to keep your baby warm and dry.
Ah toys, where do I start? I have spent SO much money on toys…most of which Noah isn’t interested in (ha). There are so many adverts these days for all the toys you can buy to stimulate babies senses, etc, etc. however you can do exactly that by home making sensory toys (this is where pinterest comes in handy) and also just spending time with your baby is just enough…taking them out into the fresh air for walks so they can see, watch and explore the world. You can also buy all singing, all dancing toys (which are cool, do not get me wrong and I have them in plenty) second hand from local Facebook selling pages, gumtree, eBay and usually they’re in excellent condition – mum selling to mums – so you don’t have to spend hundreds each time on them brand new.
So, I felt like my list was getting quite lengthy. There are so many other things that I could put down but I just wanted to list a few and make the point that although society tells us that we need so many things in order to crack motherhood…as long as you have a whole heart full of love, a roof over your head and a way to feed your baby then that is all that’s required. You will be your babies whole world and it won’t matter to them if you have thousands in the bank or just a few spare pounds all they need from you is your love, your attention and your nurture…which, for any mother (or father) comes naturally. Next time round I certainly won’t be buying the world as I have found out the hard way (by breaking the bank) what Noah needs and what he doesn’t. The cost of motherhood to me is priceless – you can’t put a tag on the love between a parent and their child – it’s beyond what money can buy.
I hope you found this helpful – do let me know.
Thought I would leave you with a little quote that I think is very true.
Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling.
It is not something you do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.
Neil L. Andersen
Remember to love each other.
x A x